ST 3247 (Hints) – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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ST 3247 (Hints)

Sunday Telegraph Cryptic No 3247 (Hints)

Hints and tips by Senf

A very good Sunday morning from Winnipeg where winter precipitation has arrived!  Around 20cms, maybe more, which was soft and powdery enough to be blown around by strong winds.  But we are avoiding the worst of a Polar Vortex which is creating havoc to the West of us with, for example, in Edmonton a ‘high’ temperature of minus 32 degrees ‘reduced’ to minus 41 with wind chill.  I will leave it to pocobc to tell us what is going on there.

For me, and I stress for me, thankfully I decided to avoid the 5d as Dada was not very friendly – five anagrams (three partials), two lurkers (one reversed), and no homophones, all in a slightly asymmetric 30 clues; with 15 hints ‘sprinkled’ throughout the grid, you should be able to get the checkers to enable the solving of the unhinted clues.

Candidates for favourite – 1a, 9a, 20a, 29a (not very often I pick an anagram), 4d, 7d, and 14d.

As is usual for the weekend prize crosswords, a number of the more difficult clues have been selected and hints provided for them.

Don’t forget to follow the instructions in RED at the bottom of the hints!

Most of the terms used in these hints are explained in the Glossary and examples are available by clicking on the entry under “See also”. Where the hint describes a construct as “usual” this means that more help can be found in The Usual Suspects, which gives a number of the elements commonly used in the wordplay. Another useful page is Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing, which features words with meanings that are not always immediately obvious.

A full review of this puzzle will be published after the closing date for submissions.

Some hints follow:


1a Indicator illuminated, has to set off (6,4)
A three letter synonym of illuminated, a synonym of has to, and an anagram (off) of set.

9a Break and pull on plant (10)
A synonym of break (a twig?) and a synonym of pull followed by ON from the clue.

13a Dye coloured in a cloche (9)
Coloured must be an anagram indicator for the unscrambling of IN A CLOCHE.

18a US author recalled in the top academic (6)
The reversed lurker (recalled in) found in the last three words of the clue.

20a Listener’s problem can fool American (8)
A neat three part charade – a synonym of can, a three letter nounal synonym of fool, and the two letters for American.

23a Spirited former lover, very industrious creature (9)
Our usual two lettered former lover and a term, that the BRB indicates as a prefix, equivalent to very, followed by an industrious (six legged) creature.

27a Sweetener worker fed to patron (10)
A two legged worker inserted into (fed to) a synonym of patron (as in supporter).

29a Fruit’s outside, awfully large one: half of pear inside (6,4)
Half of (i.e. two letters) pear, I will leave you to decide which half, inserted into (inside) an anagram (awfully) of LARGE ONE – probably the COTD.


1d Lid off vessel for girl (4)
Not guess a name time, that comes later in 8d, remove the first letter (lid off) of a type of (drinking) vessel.

4d Woman of iron, man of straw? (8)
A double definition – the second may be seen up on a roof.

8d Hand two little boys cleanse (5,5)
Guess and combine two boys names – one is only three letters and the other is an abbreviated form then follow with a synonym of cleanse ( a system consisting of tubes?).

14d Two animals, one held by player? (7,3)
More guessing – two animals, an insect and a flying mammal.

17d Post in time? Wrong! (8)
A type of post inserted into (in) an abbreviated form of a relatively short period of time.

21d Nonsense that’s wacky, primarily rot! (7)
The first letters (primarily) of That’s and Wacky and a synonym of rot (often applied to eggs).

25d Test of right and left, originally (4)
A nice gentle finish – the first letters (originally) of four words in the clue.

Quick Crossword Pun:


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A random selection this week – Sir Paul McCartney wrote Blackbird in 1968 and it was included on The White Album.   2019 was the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages and students at Allison Bernard Memorial High School in Eskasoni, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia recorded Blackbird in their native Mi’kmaq language (one of over 70 Indigenous languages spoken across Canada):

59 comments on “ST 3247 (Hints)
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  1. A game of two halves for me, with the eastern half of the guzzle much harder to get into than the west. However, I do enjoy Dada’s clever clues, especially the three lego clues that kept me guessing with their misdirection, 8d, 17d and 27a. The reverse lurker was also good fun. Thanks to Senf for the hints (a good idea to save the libation until you’d finished the crossword, I do agree). Thanks to Dada for a nicely challenging SPP.

  2. A typically enjoyable Sunday puzzle that didn’t present too many problems. I liked the 29a anagram too but I’ll plump for 4d as my pick of the clues.
    Thanks to D&S

  3. 3.5*/3*. I was progressing nicely towards a 2* finish when a few clues proved quite stubborn pushing me over 3*.

    There were a couple of strange surfaces and two vague boys in one clue but those aside it was all good fun.

    11d was my favourite, and a special mention for the Quickie pun.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf.

  4. I don’t often comment on individual clues but i thought the very industrious creature at 23a was very very funny.

    ditto the reason for insomnia in 11d.

    Thank you Dada and Senf

  5. Either this was a strange old puzzle, or I’m in a strange old mood, can’t really tell which.
    Found I had to guess at some and then work out the ‘why’ afterwards, which led me to get rather annoyed with the whole thing.
    On a brighter note, some very good clues, my top two today are 14d and 11d.
    Off for a picnic in Windsor great park now, hope it stays dry.

  6. If yesterday’s puzzle was the apex of weekend puzzles, this represents the nadir. It would not disgrace the Toughie.
    Way out of my league!
    I’m sure it’s very clever but the answers are far too well hidden.
    Managed about 1/3 before admitting defeat.
    Thx for the hints

  7. Another Sunday headscratcher but very enjoyable nevertheless.

    Favourites 4d and the amusing 11d.

    Snowing gently just north of Aberdeen which meant that Emmy the Dog had a shorter than normal beach walk but Shonagh is off out with her again to make up for it. I hope the snow stops before we get to Canadian amounts.

    Thanks to Dada and Senf. I will have to have a lie down after this puzzle before facing the Toughie.

  8. 23a and 11d were my top clues this afternoon from what was a pleasingly testing puzzle that needed perseverance to complete, especially a half a dozen on the RHS of the grid.

    My thanks to Dada for the challenge and to Senf. An afternoon of rugby awaits on the box.

  9. I really enjoyed this one. It’s one that I’d call ‘chewy’, because I could, figuratively speaking really get my teeth into it. Lots to like, with 1a kicking off the enjoyment. A couple of the four letter words proved the most troublesome for me and so 28a was my last in. I guess those sort of messages, abbreviated or not are less used by 80+ old geezers like me 😂. If pushed, I’d make 4 and 8d my favourites, with 1a close behind, but all in all a super mental workout. Thanks to both Dada and Senf.

    1. Even this 70+ old geezer had to pause for thought on 28a having never used the messaging system in either of its guises.

  10. First read through produced almost nothing so it was a case of ‘softly, softly’ until it all came together.
    I did smile at 11d but we’ve seen it before so it missed out on a podium place here – I handed the honours to 1&23a plus 4d with a mention for the dodgy two shakes.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf for the review – what a clear and tuneful voice that young Canadian girl possesses, delightful video clip.

  11. Red letter day today for me as I finished this unaided and even figured out the parsings…..very unusual for me versus Dada.
    Favourite 29a.

    Thanks to Dada and to Senf.

    Very cold here but sunny with none of the white stuff as yet.

  12. Glad we don’t have Edmonton’s weather, it is quite cold enough for me here
    I have to disagree with Brian as they came slowly but steadily with just the messages giving me an extended pause
    Like Senf, I will favour the anagram as it made me think
    Thanks to Senf and Dada

  13. I had never attempted the weekend cryptics before as I thought they would be out of my league being prize ones. However, having managed to do both of this weekend’s offerings and enjoyed them, it looks like either I was wrong or I picked a good weekend to start!
    I particularly liked 9a, 20a, 29a and 4d.

    1. The Sunday Prize Toughie is equally accessible today with a nice theme, it is in the pink puzzles supplement or on the app, try it I am sure you will like it

        1. I usually find the weekend prize puzzles easier than the Friday offering which IMHO is often the stinker of the week!

    2. Having only started doing cryptics pretty recently, I find the weekend ones quite reasonable and if anything, the Saturday puzzle easier than Sunday.

  14. Well, it seems to me this puzzle from Dada today has its quirky moments and seems Dada had his personal thesaurus at hand for some clues today. Nothing really weird or difficult, just thought provoking … with a couple of loud PDM’s too.

    2*/4* for me

    Favourites today 10a, 20a, 4d, 7d & 14d — with winner 4d
    Got a good chuckle from 10a, 20a & 8d

    Thanks to Dada & Senf for hints/blog
    Slowly emerging from the Arctic front covering BC and many other parts of Canada. Last coupe of nights been down to -15C overnight, that is cold for us in BC Lower Mainland, but as Senf has said it doesn’t come close ‘Winterpeg’ temperatures!!
    No thank you … not for me!!!!!

  15. Generous SPP offering
    I thought.
    Steady work-through to
    One remaining,
    Reminiscent of the flappers’ era.
    Penny dropped enabling me
    To follow the right direction.
    Thanks very much Dada and Senf.

  16. Thoroughly agreeable, I puzzled over the lady of iron (redacted). No. Then there was a huge clang so 4d is my favourite. But so much else to like, 9,10,29a and 3,11,7d. The bells are ringing across the road – a very joyful sound – our new vicar is celebrating Plough Sunday. I’d be interested to go over but we’ve both had a couple of bad days and I really cannot face the cold, even with puffer coats etc.
    Many thanks once again to Dada and Senf for entertaining us over lunch.

          1. That, I think, is the first time I have had my wrist slapped! Ooops. Li shall have to watch my step but I thought I was being careful.

  17. We must have been on the right wavelength this afternoon as we found it very straightforward and enjoyable indeed. Favourite was 4d. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  18. After a reasonably gentle start in the west, this became much tougher in the east. A dnf for me today, having to rely on Senf’s hints and some electronic aids to complete the grid. That said much to admire, especially 18 and 20a. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  19. Loved this one too – I’ve had a good run this last week , and completed almost unaided bar a cheat for 10a . Favourite was 11d. I don’t think I could have got 7d had I not got all the letters – a good misdirect. Thanks to Dada and Senf. Have a lovely Sunday all.

  20. Struggled a bit with this, but got there in the end. My son lives in Alberta where they forecasted minus 60C with windchill yesterday morning, so I am not complaining about the cold here!

    1. A warm welcome from me too. Now that you commented for the first time prompted, presumably, by the discussion of Canadian weather please continue to comment as often as you are able.

  21. Another Dada challenge accepted & happily completed at a steady pace.
    Started well on the western side and then started to get held up in the south & east…but eventually 23A and 27A brought me back on track.
    My COTD though was 11D, helped by Mrs H when I was saying the answer out loud and not quite getting it until she gently explained what I was already stating…doh!!
    My last ones in were 7D leading to 10A which I thought was a bit…
    Thanks again Dada for another great puzzle and, as always, to Senf for the blog ‘n hints & lovely video👍

  22. First go though I got just one and thought I was doomed. However I slowly plodded on with just those few checkers giving me enough to get going and in the end I finished unaided. So many of the clues initially seemed impossible but I have learnt that going away, looking again and often reading each word in the clue separately helps. I say all of this to encourage any lurkers / others who throw the towel in after just one pass. I would have done so in the past when I had less time. So many clever clues I cannot pick a favourite.

    Many thanks to Dada and to Senf for the hints

  23. Dada at his trickiest! I had to use copious word search, fortunately I was able to solve enough to get checkers. I was DNF with the pesky 4- letter 28a, of course it’s not hinted! Lots to like, always amused that 13a can produce such a vibrant colour, but fave is 23a.
    Thank you Dada, and huge thanks to Senf for unravelling so much. I’ll read the comments later, must get my pool routine going.

  24. A straightforward and enjoyable puzzle. Started quickly in the NW but slowed down a bit going clockwise. Needed the hints to fully parse the two boys and to me the second word does not mean to cleanse, but this is a minor quibble. Also minor I don’t consider the first creature in 14d an animal. Except in the category associated with vegetable and mineral. Two cracking clues 11d and 23a, several others too. Thanks both.

    1. One does not even have to wonder if the second word of 8d is in Dada’s personal thesaurus, which it probably is, because the words are in each other’s entries in the Chambers Crossword Dictionary.

  25. 4/1. Not my cup of tea and had to resort to lots of electronic help. I liked 29a but most of the rest was designed to frustrate. Thanks to Dada and Senf.

  26. It’s so good to be back on track after my disastrous attempts of last week. The usual Dada that began slowly, picked up speed then crawled to a near standstill but most enjoyable for all that. I thought 4d very good and it raised a smile as did the sweetener at 27a. My COTD is the player holding two animals at 14d.

    Thank you, Dada for the fun. Many thanks for the hints, Senf. Keep safe in the cold. You have real cold whereas we in the UK are going down to -1 tonight. If you read our papers you would think the next Ice Age was coming! 🤣

    1. The coldest I have ever been was in Moscow and Leningrad in 1987. There was a man stationed at the hotel entrance to make sure everyone had a hat on before they left the building.

  27. Good evening

    An enjoyable solve this afty, which was just enough of a challenge. Last to fall was 28a, which reflects the fact that the SW quadrant proved the trickiest.

    Plenty of contenders for COTD, but I think the witty 4d takes it!

    Incidentally, let’s see what comments crop up on social media re the weather. I come from Northumberland and I remember having proper winters when I was a bairn; I first ventured South in the mid 80s and lived in Lahndon. I picked up an Evening Standard one afternoon. There had been a dozen snowflakes falling on the M25 – the headline screamed: TRAVEL CHAOS!!! Aa thowt “giv’ower yer daft getts!” 😉

  28. I didn’t find this as straightforward as others seem to have done. 13a did pop out as an anagram immediately as it seemed to have quite a quirky surface, but I was puzzled by the indicator at first. Then I recalled having seen it used in a sense that works in the clue. Probably can’t add any more to what Senf has said on a prize puzzle day. I am still wondering what the significance of the word crisp is in 7d. But I’m fairly certain I have the right answer anyway. I am guessing it might be obvious as nobody else appears to have mentioned it, and 7d wasn’t selected for a hint (although all hints given are appreciated by a far larger audience than the number of commenters I am sure).

      1. Thanks DG. That wasn’t apparent from my version of the BRB, which uses the word ‘thin’. However, to make sure I understood what you said I just checked my ODE and that does use the word crisp.

  29. Phew! That was a real mind-bender but I did enjoy the struggle and surprised myself by actualy completing via West then East though thanks, I have to say, to a few unparsed bung-ins. Was trying to use an artificial sweetener in 27a until crossers precluded that. In today’s PC climate 4d is not necessarily a man. Took a while to suss strong in 7d. 21d confused me! Favs 4d (in spite of my above comment) and 11d. Thank you Dada for the work-out and Senf for confirming some of my hesitations.

  30. Three visits to this very enjoyable puzzle today, owing to the interruptions of chores and real life. Threatened to be more of a challenge than it turned out to be. All GK very accessible, clues all fair and of the ‘follow the instructions’ ilk.

    2* / 4*

    Many thanks to Dada for being so gentle, and to Senf.

  31. I looked at this yesterday evening and managed exactly one answer. Looked again this morning and went through it like a dose of salts. My brain must have had a reboot over night. Consequently I thought it very clever and a lot of fun. Thanks to Senf for hints and Dada for the challenge.

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